EP Group wins Oxfordshire clean energy innovation award

Alex Rathmell of EP Group third from left
Alex Rathmell third from left

Oxfordshire-based EP Group has been recognised for its commitment to advancing energy efficiency amongst local businesses, as part of the third-and-final round of the countywide Energy Pathfinders: 2050 competition.

In a crucial year for net-zero, the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Oxfordshire Greentech created the initiative to seek out and celebrate the county’s most promising low carbon innovators.

EP Group was selected as the Tranche 3 winner for its outstanding reflection of the Oxfordshire Energy Strategy principles in the ESCO-in-a-box: a project which is unlocking the wide range of financial, environmental and social benefits provided by energy efficiency upgrades for local businesses that currently lack the time, resources or motivation to implement projects.

Business energy efficiency projects create better workplaces, improve employee health, wellbeing and productivity, increase business resilience and job retention, and signal an organisation’s values.

But smaller businesses and their employees are excluded from these benefits because available commercial solutions don’t offer them a pathway to take action.

Working with Low Carbon Hub and Oxford Brookes University since 2019, EP Group’s ESCO-in-a-box is addressing this directly.

Two organisations were highly commended: Kite Creative, who design and build sustainable kitchens, and Neutral Home Ltd, who create energy-efficient homes to help achieve Net Zero goals.

Entries for the third tranche – Energy Efficiency and Demand Reduction – were judged by Oxfordshire leaders in industry, academia, and the public sector, following the success of previous rounds in April and July this year.

The EP:50 announcement arrived on the first evening of Oxfordshire Greentech’s annual two-day conference (17-18 November 2021). Drawing on the outcomes of COP26 to understand what it means for us in Oxfordshire, the event highlighted EP:50 and each of its 2021 winners as exemplars of the inspirational initiatives taking place in the county to tackle the climate crisis.

Ahmed Goga, EP:50’s Chair and Director of Strategy at OxLEP, said: “As part of COP26 this month, OxLEP showcased to an international audience how Oxfordshire’s world-class capabilities can be scaled up to deliver a saving of one billion tonnes of CO2 emissions.

“The ESCO-in-a-box rollout is set to save over 43,000 tonnes over the next five years alone – a phenomenal contribution from a small business – further evidencing our county’s genuine commitment and capacity to drive a net-zero future for communities in every corner of the globe.

“EP Group’s commitment begins with our own business community here in Oxfordshire, empowering local organisations to take their first decisive steps towards net zero, and prioritising local contractors to deliver the projects.

“This spirit of collegiality is vital in furthering the Oxfordshire Energy Strategy, and has earnt EP Group a well-deserved win in the final tranche of our EP:50 competition.”

Hannah Scott, EP:50’s Deputy Chair and Communications and Members Manager at Oxfordshire Greentech, said: “Our annual conference sought to provide inspiration and practical guidance to organisations who are looking to start or continue their zero carbon journey.

“EP Group’s innovative energy efficiency project fulfils both of these objectives, so it was particularly fitting to announce their merited win as part of the event.

“The EP:50 competition looked at three key criteria: impact, scope for scale-up, and economic importance to Oxfordshire. The ESCO-in-a-box project has this in abundance, and we are excited to see them play an integral role in the net-zero transition for our local business community in the coming months and years.”

Alex Rathmell, Managing Director at ep connect, added: “The ESCO-in-a-box project has examined the needs of businesses currently stuck at sustainability ‘square zero’, and places the solution in the hands of a local team, focused on impacts rather than margins, enabling a new kind of locally-relevant, convenient and ‘un-salesy’ conversation with businesses about starting their net-zero journey.

“To be recognised as part of EP:50, a fantastic local initiative, is further validation that our work will be transformative for the Oxfordshire SME landscape. We’re delighted to join the previous winners in representing Oxfordshire’s vast green capabilities”.